Risk Management Tools & Resources


The Five Essential Elements of a Violence Prevention Program


Violence is a significant concern and an unfortunate reality in healthcare. The health sector accounts for about a quarter of all workplace violence, and healthcare and social service workers are five times more likely to be injured than other workers.1 Violence can occur in any geographic location and any type of facility, and it can come from a variety of sources, including patients, visitors, healthcare providers, and staff members.

Because violence represents such a serious concern for healthcare organizations, developing and implementing strategies to address hostile and aggressive incidents is imperative. To support these efforts, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) developed Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Health Care and Social Service Workers. The guidelines offer five major elements of an effective workplace violence prevention program, which are as follows:

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Promoting Patient Dignity in Healthcare


Laura M. Cascella, MA, CPHRM

Humans have an intrinsic need for dignity as a basic element of well-being. Yet, the concept of dignity can be somewhat nebulous, and its defining features can vary across societies, cultures, and individuals.

In the context of healthcare, dignity often is defined as a multifaceted approach to patient interactions that involves the elements of respect, autonomy, empowerment, safety, communication, privacy, acceptance, inclusion, acknowledgment, fairness, and more.1

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Eight Strategies for Creating a Culture of Safety for Midwives


Marcy A. Metzgar

The United States is facing a maternity healthcare provider shortage. What may reverse this trend is a robust and more diverse workforce of midwives educated through professionally accredited midwifery education programs.1

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall employment of nurse-midwives, nurse anesthetists, and nurse practitioners is projected to grow 40 percent between 2021 and 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.2

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The Power of Words: Using Language to Support Collaborative Provider–Patient Relationships


Laura M. Cascella, MA, CPHRM

The impact of language — both written and verbal — can be profound. Words create meaning, which can shape individuals’ understanding, feelings, interactions, decisions, and so forth. In healthcare, written and verbal communication are the crux of the provider–patient relationship, and they are paramount to patient outcomes and experience.

Much emphasis has been placed on the magnitude of verbal communication in relation to engaging patients, improving quality of care, and creating collaborative care models. Yet, on the heels of the 21st Century Cures Act and its information blocking rule (also known as open notes), the significance of clinical documentation has come to the forefront. As patients gain wider access to their health information and providers’ clinical notes, the importance of written language has become increasingly evident.

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The Rise and Risks of Healthcare Influencers


Healthcare influencers have become a popular source of health information online, particularly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Influencers use their online presence on social media platforms to not only educate and generate interest on healthcare topics, but also combat misinformation. Social media is an ideal way for them to reach more people than they could on an average workday.

The United States has approximately 302 million social media users.1 It is clear that healthcare influencers have a huge potential audience, which makes them a powerful tool for healthcare promotion. In addition to posting about healthcare, influencers also may partner with companies to endorse specific products and brands.

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Using Plain Language to Support Patient Engagement and Patient-Centered Care

A significant hurdle in patient-centered care is effective communication throughout the care process. If patients do not understand their diagnoses, test results, recommended treatment plans, and follow-up instructions, they cannot fully participate in their care.

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Avoiding Allegations of Negligent Referral

Referring patients to specialists is common in both dental and medical practice. In fact, making appropriate referrals is a recommended risk strategy to avoid poor outcomes that result from practicing outside of one’s scope of expertise. However, healthcare providers can be accused of “negligent referral” if they refer patients to specialists who mishandle the patients’ cases and cause injuries.

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Case Study: Failures in Practice Management Lead to Serious Patient Injury

Effective management of healthcare practices through implementation of thorough policies and procedures, staff training, and competency assessment is crucial to ensure patient satisfaction and prevent adverse events. This case, which concerns a chemotherapy overdose resulting in severe immunosuppression and hospitalization, illustrates what can happen when practice management is lax, administrators fail to document and enforce employee disciplinary actions, and policies and procedures are inadequate or not followed.

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